STATE FOOTBALL: Knights fall to Nevis in state semifinals
MINNEAPOLIS – Russell-Tyler-Ruthton’s successful season came to an abrupt end Friday morning at U.S. Bank Stadium in the 9-Man state semifinals. RTR had no answer for the Nevis, as the Tigers ran away from the Knights, 44-16.
“They are good,” RTR coach Josh Fredrickson said. “We knew they were going to come out and run right at us and be physical. They are a very good football team. They got big kids and have strong runners.”
The Tigers churned out 389 rushing yards against a usually stingy RTR defense. Fredrickson said that the read option that Nevis ran gave the Knights fits.
“We plan and planned for that,” Fredrickson said. “That’s their bread and butter. It’s very deceptive. With a team like that with the size of their running backs you almost need two or three guys to bottle it up. They run it really well.”
The Knights won the toss and opted to receive the opening kickoff. The Tigers forced the Knights to go three and out and promptly marched down the field. A 10-yard rushing touchdown put the Tigers up 6-0. Nevis converted the two-point conversion to go up 8-0.
Following the Nevis touchdown the Knights were unable to move the chains again as the Tigers forced them to go three and out.
Nevis then quickly marched down the field and capped the drive off with a one-yard touchdown to go up 14-0 with 4:24 left in the first quarter.
The Knights picked up their first, first down of the game at the 3:41 mark of the first quarter. A few plays later RTR’s Cooper Hansen was picked off at the seven-yard line.
On the first play of the second quarter Nevis crossed the goal line again to go up 20-0. RTR had a nice drive going on the next possession, but the drive stalled out at the 35-yard line.
The Tigers struck again on a 57-yards passing touchdown. The long scoring strike put the Tigers up 26-0 with 8:30 remaining in the first half.
With under five minutes to play in the first half the Tigers struck again. This time it was from five yards out on a fourth and goal to go up 32-0.
The Knights were able to close out the first half on a positive note when Hansen connected with Westin Kirk to get the Knights on the board. Hansen crossed the goal line to convert the two-point conversion to make it a 32-8 game at halftime.
To start the second half the Knights did something they failed to in the first half. They forced Nevis to punt after getting a three and out.
On a fourth and two Hansen connected with Jonah Johnson to move the chains for the Knights. A few plays later Johnson made a one-handed catch in the end zone to make it a 32-14 ballgame. Hansen then found his twin brother, Carter Hansen for the two-point conversion to make it a 32-16 game with 6:19 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff the Knights recovered the onside kick to take over at midfield. That’s where the momentum stopped. Hansen was picked off at the 11-yard line.
“We had that touchdown before the half that got it to a three score game,” Fredrickson said. “I said to them that we are still in it. There was just a game where the team scored three touchdowns in a minute. I told them anything can happen.”
Following the interception the Tigers scored to make it a 38-16 game. The Tigers scored one more for good measure in the fourth quarter to make it a 44-16 game.
The semifinal game marked the final game for seniors, Kirk, Johnson, Jake Fischer, Evan Swanson, Jared Baartman and Cameron Nelson.
“They meant a ton,” Fredrickson said. “There is no way to replace those guys. Those guys have put so much into this program. We hadn’t won a game in years. We won our first one last year. Those seniors have put in so much time in. They were the ones that decided that they were done losing. They changed the culture here at RTR. I’m so proud of those guys. We are going to miss them.”
Nevis 44, RTR 16
RTR 0 8 8 0 – 16
Nevis 14 18 6 6 – 44
Nevis: Schmidt 10 yd run (2-pt. conversion good).
Nevis: Jack DeWulf 1 yd run (2-pt. conversion failed).
Nevis: Henry 7 yd run (2-pt. conversion failed).
Nevis: Luke DeWulf 57 yd pass from Jack DeWulf (2-pt. conversion failed).
Nevis: Jack DeWulf 6 yd run (Kick failed).
RTR: Kirk 4 yd pass from Cooper Hansen (2-pt. conversion Cooper Hansen rush).
RTR: Johnson 21 yd pass from Cooper Hansen (2-pt. conversion from Cooper Hansen to Carter Hansen good).
Nevis: Landquist fumble recovery (2-pt. conversion failed).
Nevis: Roehl 1 yd run (2-pt. conversion failed).
Passing (comp-att-yds-td-int): RTR (Cooper Hansen 18-42-2-4).
Rushing (att-yds-td): RTR (Cooper Hansen 13-60-0; Fischer 11-43-0).
Receiving (rec-tds-td): RTR (Johnson 8-93-1; Kirk 8-48-1).